Race that has been run for 300 years

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The Independent Online
AT THE APPLEBY horse fair thousands of pounds change hands on races over meadows and lanes around the small Cumbrian market town. But these races are not the over- manicured events of the British season: here the horses often gallop without harnesses and off the 'track' young riders go bareback.

Travellers from all over the country arrived last week to continue a tradition that has lasted for more than 300 years. With their way of life under increasing pressure, the fair remains a pilgrimage at which travellers keep in touch with their traditions and steer clear of the sanitised modern age, with horses being washed in the river Eden and rabbits skinned by the roadside.

The fair, photographed by David Rose, is said officially to date from 1685 when James II gave the town a charter for 'the purchase and sale of all manner of goods, cattle, horses, mares and geldings'. However some travellers maintain horses have been traded in Appleby since the 13th century.

(Photograph omitted)